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Your name, e.g. naming, wedding & funeral celebrant British Humanist Association Humanist Ceremonies.

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Presentation on theme: "Your name, e.g. naming, wedding & funeral celebrant British Humanist Association Humanist Ceremonies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Your name, e.g. naming, wedding & funeral celebrant British Humanist Association Humanist Ceremonies

2 The Humanist Ceremonies network “Humanist Ceremonies™ is the network of non-religious celebrants trained, accredited, insured, and quality- assured by the British Humanist Association. We are the UK’s longest standing provider of non- religious ceremonies and provide individually prepared ceremonies to mark important occasions in life such as the arrival of a child, weddings and funerals. 97% of feedback received awards us 5/5.”

3 A brief introduction to Humanism Builds on atheism(meaning no religious faith) A statement of what is important “For the one life we have” About using evidence, experience and reason to understand the world That we can have a good, meaningful life without belief in god(s) Promoting human rights and freedoms Living cooperatively with people of other beliefs

4 The importance of ceremony We all mark many milestones throughout our lives (e.g. birthdays) in a non-religious way Ceremony is: – natural – emotionally healthy – about community – Not necessarily connected to religion

5 “For ceremony is important to us individually and collectively. It has been used over many centuries and across all cultures, and fulfils a very human need in enabling us to step back to reflect on the significance of major changes in our lives. It’s also a time when we are able to say the important things that we do not often say in the course of everyday living.”

6 Why humanist ceremonies? British Humanist Association’s (BHA) remit is to express and represent the needs of the non-religious Ceremony provision developed in response to a need Members have been conducting funerals for each other since 1890s Over time demand has increased dramatically and the training of celebrants has developed greatly BHA at the forefront of developing non-religious ceremony

7 The basics ‘Celebrants’ are trained and accredited by the British Humanist Association (BHA) Three main ceremony types for ‘hatches, matches and despatches’ – baby namings / welcomings – weddings – funerals – some others too (e.g. renewal of vows, coming of age) Most ceremonies are for those who are simply not religious rather than who describe themselves as humanists Ceremonies are held where and when people choose – no restrictions on time/place

8 What is a humanist ceremony? Our strap-line says it all: Meaningful: sincere and honest. Non-religious: no talk of God(s), scripture, afterlife etc. Just for you: bespoke, personal with no set script.

9 Facts & Figures Approx. 300 ‘celebrants’ Conduct around 9000 ceremonies each year Approximately 85% of these are funerals Around 750,000 people go to a humanist ceremony each year

10 Our three main ceremony types Pics of leaflets


12 (Baby) Naming Ceremonies Relatively new Held as people feel the arrival of a child is too important an event not to mark and specifically to – welcome a child(ren) to the world – celebrate their safe arrival – formally introduce them to circle of family and friends About the individual child & family Often includes the appointment of ‘guideparents’ Informal, happy occasions – often combined with first birthdays

13 Format of a naming ceremony Introductions & welcomes Setting the scene A reading or poem The child’s story Parental promises Appointment of guideparents Wider family The naming itself Closing remarks

14 Personalising naming ceremonies Some namings include: – A wish tree – Music – Promises by older siblings – Signing a certificate – Lighting candles – Presentation of gifts – Ending with bubbles or balloons

15 Liv’s naming ceremony

16 Example parental promises “Sebastian, from the first second we knew that you were coming, we wanted you. And so that is our first promise; that we will always want you, even when you are naughty, or messy, or cheeky! We promise to support you throughout your life, to embarrass you as often as possible and to brag about your triumphs! We will protect you from harm, listen to you and encourage you. We promise to be there whenever you need us, to help you learn right from wrong. We will always try to remember that the most valuable things that we can give you are our time and our love Above all, we will always love you to the moon and back.”

17 What people say about naming ceremonies “The ceremony was beautiful. It was just the right balance of official and informal.” “Everyone who attended said how special it was and how much they enjoyed it.” “It was truly the most memorable and touching occasion of its kind that I've ever experienced.” “Our daughter loved being the centre of attention.“ “Our family loved it – the Grandmothers were very emotional afterwards and we had nothing but praise for your lovely ceremony!” “The ceremony was all we had hoped for and more. I don’t think we had realised how sensitive, both poignant and funny it was going to be.”

18 Writing a humanist ceremony Whatever type of ceremony it is, we take the same general approach: 1.Celebrant meets the family 2.Talks about what is wanted from the occasion 3.Make suggestions about content, format, contributions (e.g. songs, readings) 4.Writes a bespoke ceremony 5.Edits in light of feedback 6.Delivers it with aplomb

19 My role as a celebrant How people find me Meeting up and getting to know each other The writing process Juggling practical arrangements The ceremony itself What happens next…

20 Any questions or comments?

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